Kendall Schmidt Interview: Heffron Drive Singer Is ‘Super Proud’ of ‘Parallel,’ Reveals Details About Another New Song
There’s no stopping Kendall Schmidt.
The singer, originally known for his role in Big Time Rush, is turning his focus toward his latest musical project, Heffron Drive. Together with guitarist Dustin Belt, Kendall is working on the band’s debut album.
Heffron Drive’s first single, ‘Parallel,’ dropped today (March 25), but Kendall tells PopCrush the track took quite some time to perfect! The singer also shares how overcoming a challenge with ‘Parallel’ brought out the best of his abilities, and discusses an upcoming song he takes pride in writing. And despite the incredible things this performer has already accomplished, Kendall has a few unexpected goals he still wants to achieve.
Get the details on all of that and more below!
We love your new single, ‘Parallel.’ Musically, there’s so many different elements to it. Can you talk about the songwriting process?
I wrote that song with a good friend of mine, Toby Gad. In fact, he just did John Legend’s new song, ‘All of Me.’ I’m a huge fan of Toby in general just because he’s an incredible producer.
That song took like three sessions over three weeks to write and it was definitely one of the most challenging songs I’ve had to write lyrically, because one of the things about Toby is he’s… really made me practice and not just settle with basic lyrics. It really sort of challenged me to write at the best of my abilities.
It took three weeks of tweaking melodies and sort of deciding what the feeling of the song was, and there was even changing of instruments. There was changing of sections and arrangements and all of that kind of stuff. It was one of the more difficult ones that I’ve ever had to write, but it turned out just as good as you’d think something would that took that kind of time and due diligence. I’m super proud of it.
Listen to Heffron Drive’s ‘Parallel’
Where did ‘Parallel’ fall in the process of writing the album?
I have a lot of songs, I sort of have a collection of stuff I’ve been writing since a couple of years ago. There’s songs that have kind of been put out, there’s songs that I wrote with Big Time Rush, so I have a whole bunch. ‘Parallel’ was one of the first sessions that I had coming off of this last summer tour that we did. I went in and like I said, it took three weeks because every time I was going to go in and try to finish it, something got moved and it ended up being like three Saturdays in a row.
It doesn’t usually take three sessions to write a song, but I took it as a compliment because Toby wanting to have me come back in and finish the song really encouraged me that it was something he liked, something special. Like I was saying, it was in the middle of songwriting for me.
Was there one song that was the opposite and you wrote it really fast in one session?
There’s a song that lyrically, I had finished in an hour. A song that I’m still getting the instruments right on, but the song itself is called ‘Love: Defined.’ The lyrics I wrote just sitting there by myself. The lyrics were talking about ideas about what the track was going to sound like, and the guy I was writing the song with, [Lifehouse bassist and vocalist] Bryce Soderberg, was working on it and I was like, ‘Hey, man, I wrote these lyrics sort of off the top of my head. Do you want to listen to them and check them out?’ And it ended up being 100 percent written by me, which I was really so proud, and that one kind of just happened.
What can you tell us about the upcoming album?
I’m still in the process of writing it, but it would be cool to have some collaborations on it. I’m not really sure who it would it would be. It really depends on just who would want to do it on their own free time. So I’m working on that and then of course, just writing more songs in general. An album’s never done until it’s released, so I’m constantly rearranging stuff and changing the way a song sounds. I’m in the process, but it’s getting closer!
That’s good news! The album is being released on your new record label, TOLbooth Records. How long has the label itself been in the works?
I’ve been talking about it for a couple of years now, but it’s taken some time to get all put together. Of course, [I'm in] the beginning stages of it because the first thing that’s being released through my label is ‘Parallel’ and eventually I’d like to get to a place where I can sign other artists and help with their careers… I really want it to be a label more focused on artists themselves and their music that they want to show people, because I think that’s what needs to be heard.
I’m sure that you bring a different perspective since you’re an artist as well and you know how important that integrity is.
You always have to have people there who are really good at the business aspect of it too, but I’m more worried about people feeling satisfied in their careers. Art is just a matter of connection and whether or not people like the song or not is totally up to whether they like the song. You want to inspire the artist to create whatever they want to show and then just help with the promotion of it.
You were working on a documentary, right? Can you give us an update on that?
I don’t have a huge update, but I guess it’s chronically everything that’s going on. I want the movie to be set in a longer amount of time that just that winter tour that we filmed at the end of. Through ‘Parallel’ taking off and doing radio stuff and doing SXSW and all of that, I’ve just been filming things and at some point would like to put it together and complete the documentary. I don’t have a title or anything.
You’ve accomplished so much already. What goal is next?
I’d like to continue promoting ‘Parallel’ and whenever the time is right, put out another song. Possibly open for somebody, I think would be really cool. Just continue playing shows. I really love traveling and playing live, so I’d like to get to a point where I can do that. I think the best first move would be to open for somebody.
What about any non-music goals?
Traveling, of course. There’s some places that I’d like to go, preferably not when I’m working. Just to go. I’ve always wanted to have a huge piece of land somewhere. I would work on trying to find that and buying it. I like riding horses. My grandma has a horse that she takes care of for me, so I would like to eventually find a place where I could have it stabled out here in California and be able to go and spend time doing that.